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Ellen Hopkins New Novel, Rumble, Leaves the Reader Shaking

Review By: Kelley Crawford

Summary: Our main character, Matt, in Ellen Hopkin’s YA novel Rumble is a loner of a different kind. He’s dating a beautiful girl, his dad is head coach of the basketball team, and his grades are stellar. Still, he’s on the outside of the high school world and all its hoopla, and this becomes apparent after he writes an essay challenging God’s existence.  Matt’s parents, teachers, therapist, and a number of “Biblettes,” let him know that him questioning a higher power is not something anyone is really comfortable with. Matt’s girlfriend, Hayden—whom he can’t get enough of—tells him that she’s had enough of him and nightmares about his brother—Luke, who committed suicide—start to haunt Matt. Not to mention a family that is falling apart and a new girl, Alexa, who is ready to love Matt with every part of herself. While maneuvering through high school and life, Matt has to decide what parts of him are worth letting himself and others love.

Review: Hopkins’s portrayal of high school characters is right on target in Rumble. Her use of free verse poetic form gives the reader just the right amount of narrative details without being overwhelming.  Throughout the entire novel, the reader stays engaged and intrigued with emotional twists and turns in the plot, and Hopkins provides character depth that allows the reader to connect and identify with all the personalities in the story. Even more, the story feels real without any over-the-top punches. Hopkins got it right with Rumble.

Bottom Line: An intriguing read that has you turning the pages all night long

Audience: If you like Tilt (Ellen Hopkins) or The Realm of Possibility (David Levithan) then Rumble will be right up your alley. 

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